Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

The Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology course is taught by the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, which is a separate department to Engineering within the School of Technology. 

What makes the Cambridge Chemical Engineering course so special?

Students are given the opportunity to engage with a wide range of topics (from sustainability to product design) as well as depth (in specialist topic modules) in the final year. Research projects that regularly lead to journal publications, and a friendly department. 

How many students take Chemical Engineering at Newnham and what options do they choose?

There are typically between two and four in a year. The relatively small number is offset by the friendly nature of the Department and projects which mean that students from different colleges mix and connect early on. 

How will I be taught at Newnham?

Exactly as at other colleges – the Director of Studies coordinates with Directors of Studies at a number of other Colleges.

Can you tell me more about the Chemical Engineering Fellows?

For information on the current teaching staff and Fellows for Chemical Engineering, please visit our teaching webpages.

What jobs do Newnham Chemical Engineering students go on to do?

Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers in industry, government, management consultancy and teaching, amongst others. Some go into further study. 

Are there any A-level subjects that are particularly useful?

Mathematics and Chemistry are essential to be prepared for this course. The recommended third A-Level should be one of the following: Physics, Biology, and/or Further Maths. 

Can I take a gap year?

A gap year spent doing something which broadens your experience is encouraged: the greater maturity and independence you have before starting the University course, the better. The Year in Industry is one of the organisations which can set you up with a placement, or you can apply directly to companies. Another worthwhile thing to do is to travel and work abroad for a year. But you should only aim to take a gap year if you have definite ambitions and plans for what to do: it’s important not just to sit about at home! 

How should I prepare for interview at Newnham?

At the interview, be prepared to answer questions on topics that you have covered in your course to date. If you are interested in a particular sector that chemical engineers work in, find out what they do in that sector. 

The exact format of interviews at Newnham for this subject are still being decided but if invited to interview, you may be asked to participate in a writing and drawing exercise. Keeping a sketchbook will be useful preparation for this. 

Is there an Admissions Assessment for Chemical Engineering?

Yes – applicants for 2024 entry are required to take a pre-interview written assessment, for which you need to register, separately from your UCAS application, by 29th September. For information about the format of the assessment, and how to register, see the University website: 

Where can I find out more?

  • What is Chemical Engineering? 
  • Why study Chemical Engineering? 
  • Why study Chemical Engineering at Cambridge? 

The answers to these questions – and more – are on the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology website

Do you have any resources related to the course?

Yes! Please see our resource document below:

Resources For Prospective Applicants To The Chemical Engineering And Biotechnology Tripos

The Chemical Engineering Subject Overview on the ‘My HE+’ website also provides information and resources for exploring your subject.

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